TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2014
PDI journalism scholars: Our pride, joy; where are they now? From page 1
mualdez when she became the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the INQUIRER in May 1998.
SMILES SAY IT ALL The young INQUIRER president Sandy Prieto (not yet) Romualdez (center) with (from left) scholars Anissa Apolinario, Gladys Pinky Tolete, Katrina Zuño and Mark Isaiah David signs on the dotted line. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
THOSE WERE THE DAYS Leila Salaverria, Sunshine Yu and Abigail Ho set foot in the INQUIRER’s iconic stairs in 1999.
Career paths Of the 72 scholars, less than half are employed by the INQUIRER in various capacities—editors, reporters, EPAs and researchers. Ruel De Vera, an Ateneo de Manila University graduate who belonged to the first batch (1993-1995) of scholars, is associate editor at Sunday INQUIRER Magazine and one of this year’s “20-year service” awardees. He teaches journalism at his alma mater and is the author and editor of 11 books. Norman Bordadora (19931995), the very first scholar from UP, has worked with the INQUIRER as a reporter for 19 years before he was pirated this year by GMA 7 to become its online editor. The INQUIRER is proud to have trained and primed him for work that would earn him bigger bucks as his kids are about to go to college. Lourd de Veyra (UST, Batch 1994-1995) is the bandleader and vocalist of the “Radioactive Sago Project.” A three-time Palanca awardee, he works as copy editor and writer for several monthly magazines and is a radio-TV host. He hosts several TV5 shows.
currently, I NQUIRER research section head. Eliza Victoria (UP, 20052007), a former research assistant, is a two-time Palanca awardee (poetry), and grand prize winner (short story) of the Philippine Free Press Literary Awards. She writes science fiction, fantasy, horror and crime/mystery. Some of her works are “Dwellers” (2014), “Project 17” (2013), “A Bottle of Storm Clouds” (2012) and the self-published collection, “Unseen Moon” (2013). Jerald Uy (UP, Batch 20052007), former writer and segment producer of GMA 7’s “News on Q,” is now public relations writer for Fuentes Manila Publicity Network. He is a comics enthusiast. Emman Von Cena (UP, 20042006), former EPA, is now with Nestle Phils. Former researcher Alda Franz Quodala (UP, Batch 20052007) has also left the INQUIRER. Anna Patricia de Leon (UP, Batch 2004-2006) used to write for GMA 7 online. She now works for a business paper in Singapore. De Leon briefly worked as EPA for the INQUIRER. Charlene Tordesillas (UP, Batch 2002-2004) worked briefly as EPA of the Lifestyle section. She had a stint at the United Nations World Food Programme-Philippines as its public information head. Rachel Angeli Miranda, former EPA, is now attending UP Law.
Diverse awesome concerns
HIGHER LEARNING Mike Ubac at the Tercentenary Theater in Harvard in 2011. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Also a proud promdi from Masbate province, (yours truly), Michael Lim Ubac (UP, Batch 1996-1997) worked as reporter for 17 years before he became desk editor last April. He sits at the Day Desk, the INQUIRER newsroom’s nerve center headed by editor Juliet LabogJavellana. Ubac took a one-year sabbatical leave in 2011 and pursued graduate studies for Master of Liberal Arts degree (concentra-
tion: International Relations) at Harvard University. After working as reporters for about seven years, Philip Tubeza and Blanche Rivera-Fernandez (UP, Batch 1997-1999) resigned and landed jobs at the Hong Kong News. Tubeza retains his ties with the INQUIRER as its Hong Kong correspondent. Rivera-Fernandez, for her part, worked as editor for Mabuhay Magazine and Affinity Express. She now owns and serves as managing editor of Page Sixteen Publications. Agnes Donato also worked as reporter but has since moved to Australia. Abigail Ho, a former reporter, is a corporate and regulatory affairs executive at British American Tobacco (Philippines) Ltd. She had previously worked for SeaOil Phils. Jamie Rose Alarcon (UP, Batch 2002-2004), a former EPA and researcher, is now a lecturer at Kalayaan College, corporate business trainer of iTi Consulting Inc. and writer of Wedding Essentials and Wedding Essentials Destination magazines. Mel Lawrence de Guzman (UP, Batch 2003-2005), a research assistant, now works for Smart Communications. De Guzman’s batchmates at UP were Navallo, Cyril Bonabente and Angeli Kate Pedroso. Bonabente briefly worked for the INQUIRER before moving to Business World. She now works for Smart Communications as a supervisor of its public affairs section.
The literary gifted STANDING TALL Lawyer Michael Jobert Navallo in Paris. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Pedroso rose from the ranks as researcher, editorial assistant for the Metro section and
Some scholars took on various jobs with vastly diverse concerns: Jo Javan Cerda (PhilStar), Jessica Anne Hermosa (associate director, Markets and Client Service of SGV & Co.), Reuben Joel Mercado (migrated to Hawaii), Joan Andrea Toledo (technical assistant, Department of Education), Shelly Faune Dimaculangan (Accenture), Joba Botana (Megaworld), Bernadette Joy Lopez (senior communications analyst, Social Security System), Arline Adeva (PR director at Jollibee Foods Corp.), John Mark Tuazon (PR officer, Smart Communications), Hans Joshua Dantes (Project Assistant 1, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology), Karen Lou Mesina (writer, Singapore Business Review), Jessica Gabrielle Thea Santiago, (assistant communications officer, Jesuit Conference of Asia-Pacific), Joanna Nicole Batac (2.0 Magazine), Sunshine Yu (Cebu Pacific Air), Diane Claire Jiao (University of Melbourne), Mark Isaiah David (Epson Phils.), and Frederick Tomacder (volunteer counselor). Other former scholars continue to serve as the paper’s workhorses: Reporters Quismundo, Jerome Aning, Leila Salaverria, Dewey Joseph Yap, Julie Anne Aurelio, Ma. Erika Sauler (now online editor for INQUIRER.net), Kristine Felisse Mangunay; and EPAs Penelope Endozo, Cora Ana Karenina Evangelista, Sara Isabelle Pacia (who has recently become a senior digital producer of INQUIRER.net), Mariejo Mariss Ramos and Dexter Cabalza.
‘Dream job’ Quismundo said it was through the INQUIRER scholarship that she eventually landed her “dream job.” Some 11 years later, she said she was “a proud bearer of the most recognized and respected press ID
CHECKING THEM OUT President Sandy Prieto-Romualdez and the late publisher Isagani Yambot share a light moment with scholars Jerald Uy, Eliza Victoria and Erika Sauler in 2005. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
The INQUIRER CEO is assisted by Cita Goyagoy, the one-woman secretariat that processes all scholarship applications, including the all-important duty of preparing checks payable to schools and individual students since the program’s inception. “The scholarship program is a testament to the generosity of the Prieto family. They really want to help deserving and outstanding students hone their journalistic talents, so that they could be the next leaders in the industry,” said Goyagoy. Indeed, for 21 years the program has generously provided financial support to a total of 72 journalism students from the UP College of Mass Communication (59 scholars), Department of Media Studies and Communication of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Arts and Letters (5), Department of Communication of the Ateneo de Manila University (3), and the journalism programs of UP Los Baños (2), University of the East (2) and Ateneo de Davao (1). Students were selected after a rigorous process that included taking writing and psychological-personality tests and going through a panel interview. The INQUIRER pays the tuition and other enrollment fees of the scholars, plus a monthly stipend of P3,000 and a semestral book and school supplies allowance of P1,500. The grant is for a period of two years beginning from the third (junior) year during which the scholars are required to maintain a semestral average of 1.75 (87 percent or cum laude standing).
COLLEGE TIES THAT BIND Edson Tandoc Jr. and Tarra Quismundo take a selfie in front of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore where Tandoc, the former reporter, is now a professor. in the country.” De Vera recalled that he was the first one to join the INQUIRER, but had entertained thoughts of quitting after he was assigned to cover the police beat. “I was overwhelmed, terrified and tried to quit after two days. But our publisher, the late Isagani Yambot, encouraged me to stay, so I did,” he said. After one year, he got the position he really wanted—staff writer at Sunday INQUIRER Magazine. Looking back, he’s happy that Yambot, who died in 2012, talked him out of quitting. “The INQUIRER has opened every door for me. It’s really the workplace that heavily influenced me. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to work for a company that you can believe in and be proud of. I’ve learned so much from everybody I’ve met at the INQUIRER,” he said. The former scholars have ideas about the impact that they would want to make in the INQUIRER.
Forefront of new media Pacia wants to be at the forefront of the INQUIRER’s move toward embracing new media and technologies. “In my time here so far, I’d like to believe that I’ve been vocal on how the INQUIRER can adapt to the changing media surroundings, sharing in 2012 my thesis on news curation with INQUIRER.net so they may apply it to the website,” she said. As a member of the INQUIRER research team, Pedroso just wants to help the paper churn out quality journalistic pieces. She wants “journalism with meaning, journalism with context, journalism that is accurate, informative and easy to grasp.” They have different ideas when asked how, in the digital age, the INQUIRER should transform itself without losing its identity, core values and strengths. Quismundo believes the INQUIRER has made significant headway in the new media and various platforms.
‘Not innovative’ “It has been at the forefront of efforts to marry the traditional with the new, easing the company into a digital-first (not-sodistant) future. I would say the INQUIRER has been the most innovative print brand in terms of its successful transition to multimedia. And all the while, it has
remained true to its mission of telling the Filipino story, whether on paper, on screen or on air,” she said. Pacia believes the INQUIRER produces “some of the best, if not the best, content among media organizations in the country.” “The digital age should not, and cannot, change that. We are still among the most-trusted sources of accurate news; we need only to master how we can best reach our audience, who still want to listen to us. Awareness of and training on these new mediums of storytelling will be key,” she said. Pedroso sees the INQUIRER that is available at all “touch points” (print, Web, mobile) without sacrificing content quality.
Answer important questions “I think the digital age is an age marked with a deluge of information, both accurate and unreliable, and I think the INQUIRER is in a good position to put together the facts, their context, the Big Picture and what it all means. To answer the important questions amid all the digital noise: What’s the Truth? How does everything come together? So what?” she said. Tandoc thinks the INQUIRER should not be afraid to innovate, “and should realize that innovation does not mean changing the journalistic ideals that have made it the trusted news organization that it has become.” The I NQUIRER should “invest in, and embrace, new technologies that allow new forms of telling the important stories it has to tell, but also realize that technologies shouldn’t shape our journalism, but that our journalism can use these technologies to reach more people by providing faster platforms for dissemination, new ways of interaction with our people, and novel formats of telling our stories. Technologies alone will not save journalism.” He said the company should also need to “invest in the people” who will use those technologies, making sure they are equipped with the required skills, as well as with the right motivations—“to continue doing journalism that is honest, accurate, and ethical, the very same things that my I NQUIRER scholarship and my I NQUIRER stay had taught me before.”
The Philippine Daily Inquirer marks its 29th anniversary today with simple rites at its offices in Makati City.